Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) used a report in his opening remarks on Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the Donald Trump era that highlighted crimes that took place from 2008 to 2016 — when Barack Obama was president.
“Today, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing that I wish we did not have to conduct, but which is sadly necessary, to examine an urgent crisis in our country,” Nadler, chairman of the committee, said in his opening remarks. “We will consider issues relating to hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism.”
“This topic goes to the heart of our country’s longstanding struggle to carry out what the Preamble to our Constitution says it is designed to do—to form ‘a more perfect union.’
“Hate incidents target victims based on their actual or perceived race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or other immutable characteristics,” Nadler said. “Some of these incidents may be crimes, and some are not, but all of them harm not only individuals but also our communities and, ultimately, our entire nation. Unfortunately, various statistics confirm what most of us have observed—that hate incidents are increasing in the United States.”
Then Nadler cited a report from the leftwing Center of Investigative Reporting of hate crimes that took place while Barack Obama was President of the United States. Nadler said:
The Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed incidents of domestic terrorism occurring from January 2008 to December 2016. It found that there were nearly twice as many attacks perpetrated, or attempted, by right-wing extremists (115) compared to those identified as Islamist domestic terrorism (63). The report also concluded that right-wing extremist attacks were more often deadly. Although the total number of deaths associated with Islamist incidents was higher (90), this is largely due to the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, which alone resulted in 13 deaths. In fact, only 13 percent of Islamist cases caused fatalities. By contrast, nearly a third of attacks committed by right-wing extremists involved fatalities (79 deaths).
Of the three hate crimes Nadler cited in his opening remarks, only two have taken place since Trump has been president in the United States — the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 and the eleven people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.
The third hate crime Nadler included was the attack at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 50 people. Nadler went on:
In each case, the perpetrators were motivated by a belief that people perceived to be non-white—whether they be African Americans, Jews, Muslims, or members of other minority groups—were plotting to undermine the white race as part of a Great Replacement, the same idea that motivated the 2011 Norwegian attacks on a Workers’ Youth League summer camp, which cost 77 lives, and the attack on a Sikh temple in Milwaukee that cost six lives.
The attack at the Sikh temple took place in 2012.
“Unfortunately, in a time when decisive leadership is needed, the president’s rhetoric fans the flames with language that—whether intentional or not—may motivate and embolden white supremacist movements,” Nadler said.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter